- After the January 6 Capitol siege, dozens of companies said they’d cut ties with some Trump groups.
- Several companies vowed to stop PAC donations to lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification.
- However, other companies made vaguer statements – and have restarted donations.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Companies including Toyota, JetBlue, and Cigna are still donating thousands of dollars to the lawmakers who voted against Joe Biden’s certification as president.
After a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 to try and prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s win, many top US companies scrambled to cut ties with the 147 GOP lawmakers who voted against the results.
Dozen of companies, including Walmart, Amazon, Morgan Stanley, and AT&T, said they would stop giving donations to these specific lawmakers, and Hallmark even asked Hawley and Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall to return its donations.
A further group of companies said they would review their contribution policies or would take the January 6 events into account when awarding funding.
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, founder of Yale’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute, told Axios in March the companies that halted political donations are unlikely to lift this ban any time soon. However, recent Federal Election Commission filings show that some companies are still giving to these lawmakers.
Color of Change, which says it is America’s largest racial justice organization and has more than 7 million members, is urging these companies to halt the donations.
Jade Ogunnaike, senior campaign director at Color of Change, told Insider that Trump’s presidency “undermined faith in our democracy.”
She said lawmakers including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who voted against Biden’s certification, “would have been very happy to do anything possible that they could to ensure that Trump remained in the office.”
“You can’t forget that these are not congresspeople that we can trust,” Ogunnaike added.
“It’s incredibly important that corporations understand that and refuse to back people who were supporting violence in the transfer of power,” she said.
The vast majority of corporations who pledged to stop funding these GOP lawmakers have stayed true to their word – but some companies who made vaguer promises about assessing PAC criteria have restarted donations, while others gave money instead to various Republican committees that, in turn, fund these lawmakers.
Here are the companies that have still been funding these 147 objectors, according to Federal Election Commission data up to March 31.
Toyota’s corporate PAC has given to 40 of the lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification, Popular Information reported, with the donations totalling $62,000. This includes $5,000 to Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman and $3,500 to Arizona Rep. David Schweikert.
The automaker had previously told Automotive News it was assessing its PAC criteria following the Capitol siege.
“Toyota supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company,” a Toyota spokesperson told Insider.
“We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification,” the spokesperson said. “Based on our thorough review, we decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions.”
Health insurer Cigna said in January it would pause contributions to lawmakers “who encouraged or supported violence, or otherwise hindered a peaceful transition of power,” but added that this group doesn’t necessarily include all 147 GOP objectors.
The company gave money to at least six of the lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification, Forbes reported. This included $1,000 to Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, $1,500 to South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice, and $2,500 to Pennsylvania Rep. John Joyce.
“In January, we disqualified certain elected officials from CignaPAC support based on alignment with our company values,” Cigna told Insider in a statement.
“Our new standard applies to those who incited violence or actively sought to obstruct the peaceful transition of power through words and other efforts. Congressional votes are, by definition, part of the peaceful transition of power outlined by law, and therefore, we believe are not the appropriate indicator for the application of our policy.”
Cigna added that its PAC remains nonpartisan and “focused on the common concerns of the employees who fund it.”
Popular Information reported that Koch Industries gave a total of $17,500 to six lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification, including North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson and Kansas Rep. Ron Estes.
This came after the Koch political network, which is also controlled by billionaire businessman Charles Koch, told Politico that “lawmakers’ actions leading up to and during last week’s insurrection will weigh heavy in our evaluation of future support.”
The chemical-manufacturing company did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
National Association of Realtors
The National Association of Realtors is a major political donor. It spent a total of $154.3 million on political donations and lobbying during the 2019/20 election cycle, according to a report by Americans for Financial Reform, putting it third-highest among Wall Street firms and associations.
During this time period, it was the third-biggest PAC donor to the lawmakers who later voted against Biden’s certification, giving $1.27 million to these lawmakers out of the total $13.7 million it spent on political contributions, data from political-transparency site Open Secrets shows.
The New York Times reported that in the first quarter of 2021 the National Association of Realtors gave to multiple objectors, including $1,000 each Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt and California Rep. Ken Calvert.
The association, which told Insider that it had 1.4 million members, said it put a temporary pause on all federal political disbursements in place after the siege, but had lifted it.
“This decision will ensure we continue to engage with political candidates in an effort to support America’s homeowners and our nation’s real estate industry,” it said, adding that its PAC was bipartisan.
JetBlue told Insider that it temporarily paused its donations to get feedback from PAC contributors. Since then, its PAC has donated $1,000 to New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who voted against Biden’s certification.
“We take a bipartisan approach, supporting both Republicans and Democrats,” a spokesperson for JetBlue said, adding that its PAC had donated to two further Republican candidates and four Democratic ones since resuming contributions, none of whom had voted to challenge the election results.
“By having relationships with candidates on both sides of the aisle, we can also maintain a voice in the room on issues that are important to our crewmembers,” the spokesperson said. “We’ll continue to have an open dialogue with PAC contributors to understand how and where their contributions should be directed.”
Jones Walker, one of the US’ largest law firms, donated $1,000 to Illinois Rep. Mike Bost, Popular Information first reported.
The New Orleans-based company didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Cubic Corporation, LKQ Corporation, and the Sierra Nevada Corporation
Forbes also reported that defense contractor Cubic Corporation gave to at least eight lawmakers who refused to certify, auto-parts distributor LKQ Corporation to at least eight, and aerospace company Sierra Nevada Corporation to least seven.
Cubic declined to comment, while LKQ Corporation and the Sierra Nevada Corporation did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Some PACs, meanwhile, haven’t given directly to the 147 objectors — but are members of trade associations that themselves gave to these lawmakers, Popular Information said.
The American Financial Services Association, for example, counts General Motors and Wells Fargo among its members. Both said they would pause all political donations, and have kept true to their word — but AFSA donated $1,000 to South Carolina Rep. William Timmons in February, FEC filings show. ASFA’s PAC donates heavily in favor of Republicans, data from Open Secrets shows.
Financial-services companies are major donors to lawmakers, and Wall Street spent a record $2.9 billion on political contributions and lobbying in 2019 and 2020, according to a report by Americans for Financial Reform. Despite almost equal support for Democratic and Republican candidates, the sector donated overwhelmingly towards Biden’s presidential campaign over Trump’s.
Some companies are instead funding GOP committees
Another way corporate PACs have been indirectly funding the lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification is through donations to committees such as the National Republican Senatorial Committee (RNSC).
Popular Information reported that Pfizer donated $15,000 to the NRSC in February, which is run by Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who objected to the election results. These funds will also benefit the seven other GOP senators who voted against Biden’s certification, the publication reported.
Cigna also donated $15,000 to the NRSC, alongside a further $15,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
Intel also gave $15,000 to the NRCC after it had said it would stop donations to the 147 objectors.
The tech company told Insider that its policy of halting direct contributions to members of Congress who voted against certificating the Electoral College results still applied.
It said that it divides its political contributions evenly among Republicans and Democrats, including individual candidates, campaign committees, and governors associations, and added that it continuously evaluates its contributions.
Communications giant AT&T had also said in January that it would halt contributions to the lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification, but it donated $5,000 to the House Conservatives Fund in February, which fundraises for the Republican Study Committee, itself made up mainly of GOP objectors.
AT&T told Popular Information that the House Conservative Fund had “assured” them that none of this money would go to support the re-election of the 147 objectors.
Insider has contacted Pfizer and AT&T for comment.
Color of Change wants these companies to address their political contributions
“At Color of Change we’re not supporting a boycott [of these companies] necessarily,” Ogunnaike told Insider. Instead, the organization is asking people to design a petition asking that these companies stop funding these lawmakers.
She added she also recommended that customers contact these companies and share their point of view.
“What we see is that corporations are very, very reactive to the concerns of consumers,” she said. “We’ve seen corporations change their minds on an important issue within moments because consumers reached.”